Judd Trump has defended a ranking title for the first time in his career, capturing the 888sport European Masters title thanks to a thrilling 9-7 defeat of Stuart Bingham in Lommel.
Trump recorded a stunning 9-8 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan to lift the title a year ago. 12 months later and the Ace in the Pack found himself in the final once again. He faced a repeat of the Welsh Open final from earlier in the year, which he narrowly lost to Bingham. On this occasion it was the 28-year-old Trump who came out on top.
Victory and the £75,000 top prize has helped world number four Trump to close the gap on third placed John Higgins in the world rankings. It’s the eighth ranking crown of Trump’s career and sees him move ahead of Shaun Murphy to 12th in the list of most titles won.
Bingham will rue relinquishing his 4-2 advantage this afternoon, when the ended the first session level at 4-4. However, the 2015 World Champion can reflect on his best tournament showing of the season and the £35,000 second prize.
The evening session was played at thunderous pace, with both players going blow to blow with big breaks. Bingham was first to fire in a sublime century run of 130, before Trump restored parity at 5-5 with a contribution of 107.
The Ace in the Pack claimed the following two frames to gain a two frame cushion at the mid-session, leading 7-5. However, Bingham dug deep to win consecutive frames and level once more at 7-7. From there Trump powered to the line, winning the fifteenth frame, before signing off in style with a run of 107.
Afterwards a delighted Trump immediately set his sights on further glory at next week’s English Open in Barnsley.
The eight-time ranking event winner said: “It would be nice to win two tournaments in a row, that is another aim of mine. I want to do as well as possible in every tournament and try to win as many big events as I can.
“I think it took me a few games to get used to being back out there, as I haven’t played much season. I wasn’t quite match sharp the first few games and I grew into the tournament. I played very well in the semi-final and that set me up for today. Stuart played great and maybe even better than me. I managed to stick in there and get to the interval at 4-4.
“Winning this tournament last year gave me a good incentive to defend the title. Now I have got that off my back I can set myself new targets for the rest of the season.”
Bingham was disappointed not to lift his second ranking silverware of the calendar year and felt he was playing well enough to be in the frame for the title.
“I came out today and had three century breaks. I felt really comfortable,” said the 2015 world champion.”There were about four frames that could have gone either way. He just had the run at the right time. I snookered him a couple of times and he got the snooker back. In the end it has finished 9-7, but I have to try to take the positives.”